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Mark Harrison: Soviet Munitions Output

This page gives access to the data that I used for my paper "The Volume of Soviet Munitions Output, 1937-1945: A Reevaluation," Journal of Economic History 50:3 (1990), pp. 569-89. This paper refers to a statistical supplement that, regrettably, no longer exists. The file uploaded here reproduces a spreadsheet printout that underlay that supplement. The printout is divided into a series of worksheets, as follows:

  • "FIN.SLUZH.": Budgetary data, 1938 to 1945, from Finansovaia sluzhba Vooruzhennykh Sil SSSR v period voiny, edited by M. V. Terpilovskii, published for limited circulation in Moscow in 1967.
  • "PRICE": Price indices, 1940 to 1945, calculated as described in section A of the printed appendix to "Volume," pp. 588-589.
  • "AFV [armored fighting vehicles]," "AIRCRAFT," "AMMUNITION," "GUNS," and "NAVY": Output (in physical units) and unit prices of Soviet munitions, 1940 to 1945, leading to subindex numbers for each branch, as described in appendix sections B and C.
  • "PREWAR": Backward extension of the subindex numbers from 1940 to 1937, as described in appendix section D.
  • "NEWINDEX": The new index of Soviet munitions output, 1937 to 1945, using both expenditure weights of both 1941 and 1944, and showing the effect of varying the (unknown) relative weights of armament and ammunition, as described in appendix section E.
  • "COMPAR": The level of Soviet munitions output is related to comparable measures of war production for the UK, USA, and Germany, using the single-engined combat airplane for a numéraire, as described in appendix section F.
  Name Description File Size
data.pdf Data for statistical supplement (254 KB)


When I worked on this paper, nearly all the underlying data were Soviet state secrets. My book, Accounting for War: Soviet Production, Employment, and the Defence Burden, 1940-1945 (Cambridge University Press, 1996), researched and written immediately after the Soviet collapse, uses much richer data and provides more reliable estimates. It does not, however, compare Soviet war production directly with that of the other great powers. For this, the reader may consult my "Economic Mobilization for World War II: an Overview," in The Economics of World War II: Six Great Powers in International Comparison, pp. 1-42 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).